Carrageenan

I help a lot of people who are dealing with new diet strategies due to allergies or conditions and many times that includes having to eliminate dairy. At one time, this was difficult because the only option as an alternative was soy milk (NOOOOO!!!!)  Now we’ve got a plethera of products that are able to take the place of dairy. Oh my, if only it were that easy. See, there is this stuff that helps the alternatives mimic the creaminess and and thickness. It’s an extract of a seaweed. That sounds safe, right? Seaweed is good, right? Not this time. The health effects of this ingredient are actually pretty scary. If you know me at all, you know that I am not big on scare tactics or conspiracy theories. I just offer facts and try, with reason and logic, to weigh out the true potential for negative and positive effects. This ingredient is straight up bad news bears.

Studies have shown it to promote tumor growth, increase chronic, systematic inflammation and effect insulin response. The inflammatory response it triggers is a concern because ongoing inflammation, even low-grade, has been shown to be the precursor to several chronic diseases, all of which you do not want, trust me. I am a huge advocate of eating anti-inflammatory foods and this is in direct opposition to my goal. Carrageenans are found in most dairy alternatives but also found in many other food products, even some “healthy” organic ones. Please be sure to read labels! There are many recipes available to make your own, homemade dairy alternatives. Or, you can still buy products without this ingredient. They are out there. If I buy a pre-packaged milk alternative, I buy 365 brand Almond Milk. So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt, Greek Style is also an option. As of last check, they were free of Carrageenans. Be sure to check your protein powders too! I recently found that ingredient in one of my favorite plant based proteins. Man, I was so upset!

No need to panic, just be aware and empowered. :)

 

Posted on May 20, 2014 and filed under Food.